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Opinion

Readers React: John Bolton: Another hawk who managed to avoid military service altogether

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John Bolton testifies on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2005.
(Dennis Cook / Associated Press)

To the editor: President Trump just fired Gen. H.R. McMaster and will have hawkish John Bolton replace him as national security advisor. It’s bad enough that our president, our new secretary of the State, Mike Pompeo, and the new director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, have all advocated torture. Even worse is the threat of war symbolized by Bolton, who has advocated bombing Iran, North Korea and even Cuba. It’s been said sarcastically that Bolton has not met a country he didn’t want to bomb. (“John Bolton’s appointment further weakens the ‘axis of adults’ around Trump,” March 23.)

For a century, the U.S. became dominant by a combination of economic and military muscle. With the economic muscle fading, the temptation will be to rely more on military muscle, where we reign supreme. In 2017, we had special forces in 149 counties, 75% of the world’s countries. This reflects a dangerous temptation to keep our fading global hegemony through increased military means.

Roger Carasso, Santa Fe, N.M.

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To the editor: Notwithstanding your editorial handwringing, Bolton is not an extremist. However unlike the Neville Chamberlains who populate the State Department and whose appeasement style is worshiped by the establishment (Democrat and Republican), Bolton understands that the only thing evil understands is its own death.

There have been statesmen who understand that diplomacy-as-appeasement has its limits. As Winston Churchill wisely said: “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Bolton intends to kill the crocodile so that it does not eat him, the American people or the people of countries that are truly America’s allies.

Richard Sherman, Margate, Fla.

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To the editor: Has anyone noticed that those national policy makers that have had the heavy burden of ordering our military men and women into harm’s way, such as Gens. James N. Mattis and McMaster, are less inclined to threaten military action against our adversaries that those who managed to avoid military service altogether, such as Trump and Bolton?

Gary Vogt, Menifee, Calif.

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